On the outside, many Christian colleges seem like they are holding fast to sound doctrine, standing strong against the cultural storm. On the surface, their public statements make it seem as though they offer a safe harbor for Christian young adults to receive a quality education.
Except when it’s actually a sham.
Here are two recent examples that were reported to the ministry by students at Biola University.
Women’s History Month
During the month of March 2021, this display appeared in one of the dorms on campus at Biola University. It was in celebration of Women’s History Month.
Sidebar: I wonder what it’s like to be a young man and see this kind of messaging, that women run the world. I wonder what their experience is like. Is this a microaggression for them? Or, what about the messaging to women: that soon the women running the world, will actually be men. This messaging is so confusing and problematic—but I digress.
I know the pictures are a bit blurry, so let me help interpret them for you.
However…. The display also featured Patricia Velasquez, a “First Latina Lesbian Supermodel” (author, Straight Walk) and Laverne Cox, as the first transgender person to be nominated for a primetime Emmy.
Out of curiosity, I scanned the QR code for the suggested resources. It went to this web site. (UPDATE: As of the publication of this post on 4/29/21, this web site was still active. It was removed, however, within 12 hours of this post going live.)
In case you can’t read it, here is the description:
These articles have been selected by SoHo staff members in order to educate our community on women's history. We hope that these articles will create conversations surrounding different perspectives on the experience of being a Christian woman.
From my best guess, what I believe this means is that this list of resources was compiled by official employees of Biola University, from this specific dorm SoHo. In other words, this display was not compiled by rogue students.
When I looked in the address bar, I saw this.
I wondered if “ramsey jeanty” was a person’s name. So, I Google’d it. Yup. It’s the Resident Director of the dorm. Again, paid staff at Biola. Here is his public LinkedIn page that verifies his position at Biola.
I then clicked on the “LOVING OUR LGBTQ+ SISTERS” page. (UPDATE: As of the publication of this post on 4/29/21, this web site was still active. It was removed, however, within 12 hours of this post going live.)
Here are links to the list of suggested resources:
Biola's statement on Sexuality & Relationships
A Christian Conversation Guide (published by the Human Rights Campaign, a decidedly non-Christian organization that is actually fairly hostile to historic Chritianity and its understanding of sexuality)
Embracing Our Transgender Neighbors on God’s Terms (an article from Christianity Today)
We’re Here Too (an article by a transgender woman; no Christian perspective)
Due to space and time constraints, I will not list out every concern here. But feel free to click through the links for yourself.
I do, however, want to briefly highlight the fourth bullet point, We're Here Too. This resource clearly invites young people to adopt and support LGBTQ+ / Queer Theory. Now, I am not saying that those struggling in their sexual identity should be ostracized or abused. However, there is a difference between helping someone who is struggling with sin and adopting a framework that says a sinful lifestyle should be supported and encouraged.
Here are the three calls to action put forth in this article:
1. “Normalizing Pronouns: When we put our pronouns in an email signature, or say them after introducing ourselves, we are sending a very clear message: These are the pronouns I use to refer to myself, and you should be using them too.”
2. “Understand That Coming Out Is An Everyday Process (and that we need help doing it): To be transgender is, to some extent, accepting that a key part of your identity will always be out of that balance [...] Treat trans women like women, treat trans men like men, and treat non-binary folks like human beings free of the gender binary. Our trans identity is not something most of us want erased, but we do want to be treated like normal people.”
Again, I am not advocating for the mistreatment of trans individuals. My concern here is that Christian young people are being invited to see the lifestyle of LGBTQ+ as ordinary and normal, and not as sin as it is defined in Scripture.
3. “Being Vocal About Trans Rights: We need our cis allies to help us fight these [anti-transgender legislation]. If you are aware of anti-trans practices in the workplace, whether that be from a client or a coworker, or you hear about anti-trans laws being considered, we need you to step up. Donate to charities like the Trans Lifeline or Lambda Legal, read up on the legislation when it’s discussed in the media, call your representatives and tell them it is untenable to treat trans folks this way.”
The display was up for the ENTIRE MONTH of March.
Share Your Pronouns
Two female students, from different dorm floors in the same dorm, reported to us last week that they were asked to declare their pronouns as part of the “get to know you” survey from their R.A.s, earlier in the semester. Other questions included their favorite foods and such.
They were moving into an all-female dorm. The girls had different R.A.s, but the same Residence Director. This causes us to assume that it was a question for all women who moved into that dorm.
One of them told us, “My immediate thought was, 'I thought this was Biola. I didn’t know we did that sort of thing here.'” The other woman said that she expected the dorm to be a place of camaraderie and spiritual support. Instead, it had a definite vibe of “woman power and social justice.”
One student is still enrolled at Biola. The other withdrew, saying, “Biola was simply ‘too liberal’ and completely different than what was presented to me and my mother during the Admissions process.”
Why am I writing this?
Before anyone sends me a message to ask: Yes, I have already met multiple times with multiple Biola administrators to alert them to similar problems. And yes, I’m aware that they made a public statement last fall against Critical Theory. And, yes, I have actually stepped away from Talbot, Biola’s seminary. I am no longer a student at Biola because of the acceptance of the Critical Social Theories.
HOWEVER, there are many young people being impacted by an unbiblical framework and encouraged to live out unbiblical ideologies. Biola has hired multiple faculty and staff who see principles of Critical Theory on the spectrum of Christian faithfulness. And those people are still employed.
I have talked to several parents who have raised concerns about these issues with Biola administrators. But they are consistently told that everything is fine. When one mother tried to express her concern about these matters and the impact it was having on her child, the Chief Diversity Officer recommended that she read the book, Being White. (Sidebar: This same book was also handed out to faculty a few years ago to read as part of their development.) The reality is, however, Biola has hired staff and faculty who are sympathetic to aspects of Critical Theory and secular social justice. And it doesn’t look like that’s going away anytime soon.
I am deeply concerned about the impact that this kind of messaging will have on these young and impressionable students. Christian students are being discipled to believe that the ideals of secular social justice are an authentic expression of how Christians ought to live out their faith. This was a key reason why chose to leave Talbot. I have expressed this concern directly to the Dean of Talbot and to the President's office.
I no longer feel hopeful that I can be a voice for change at Biola. My main motivation at this point is to sound the alarm for parents, alumni and donors. Parents, this is what you are paying for. This is how your children are being discipled by Biola staff. Alumni and donors, this is what you are paying for.
I was recently informed that “the situation with the posting has been handled.” I’m not sure what to make of this. What exactly does “handled” mean? If it simply means that the posters were removed, I would argue that the situation has not been handled, at least not properly.
Update 4/30/21: The dorm display was up for the entire month of March. But it was removed in early April, within 24 hours of the President's assistant being made aware of the display. I am thankful. However, the web site that housed all of the recommended resources remained active until this blog was posted on 4/29/21. But that doesn't address the critical question: Why did a Biola staff member, namely the RD, think that such a display was consistent with the University's sexual ethos? Or is Biola wanting us to believe that the display was up for an entire month without the RD's knowledge?
While I am grateful for the removal of the posters, I believe it is the continual perpetuation of a worldview that is contradictory to the historic view of scripture that is the problem. Handling this situation should also include publicly informing students the biblically correct worldview, as upheld by Christians for the last 2000+ years. Silently removing two posters from the inside of an elevator does not remove the worldview that continues to climb, perceivably unchecked, throughout many of the staff and leadership at Biola.
This is an extended interview with Dr. Corey Miller, President of Ratio Christi, about the influx of Critical Social Theories into Christian colleges.
(originally posted on CFBU's Facebook page)
I (Monique) received an email from Dr. Rae, Biola Professor and advisor to Biola President, Dr. B. Corey. He was concerned that I did not adequately address the swiftness with which Biola took down the Women's Month dorm display after he became aware of it. I have amended the blog post to reflect this.
I am attaching a screenshot posted in a Biola parent group of Biola's official response to my post, which was a near duplicate of Dr. Rae's communication with me via email.
In fairness, I do believe that the swift handling of the display is a GOOD thing. I have had a few conversations with Dr. Rae and have no reason to believe that he would look the other way on this issue.
Unfortunately, while Dr. Rae brings up a thoughtful point, my failure to mention the swiftness of Biola's response, his response to this matter fails to address the larger issue within the Biola community: The prevalence of many critical social theories.
Here are my concerns:
1. In conversations with multiple faculty and students, this incident in the dorm is one of several. Some of which I have brought to Biola leadership, others have been documented shared here as blog posts.
2. I personally find Biola's response to my assertion that they are "advocating unbiblical doctrine" incongruent with conversations I've had with Dr. Rae where he admitted that there are current staff and faculty who see aspects of critical social theories on the spectrum of beliefs compatible with historic Christianity.
3. Biola's response mentions that RAs (students) posted the display. However, there is no mention in Biola's communication about the website that housed links promoting tenets of queer theory (challenging heteronormative models for sexuality in culture and the church), which was under the name of the RD (a Biola staff member).
4. Biola's response mentions that the RAs "are unfortunately mimicking what they experience in the world they inhabit." RDs are a part of a student's regular dorm life experience, helping to shepherd the RAs. If the RD is promoting such unbiblical issues, perhaps RAs are mimicking what they experience at BIola?
5. Biola's concern over my lack of appreciation to their response time is, in my opinion, an attempt to steer my (and parents') eyes away from what is right in front of our faces: the current employment of staff and faculty who see various aspects of Critical Social Theory on the spectrum of beliefs compatible with historic Christianity and are making policies that reflect that construct.
My concern is that Biola is propping up a public appearance that, as a Christian institution, they are doing all they can to remain historically orthodox, while behind the scenes are struggling with professors and staff who uphold heterodox positions and actively live out and teach those positions to their students.